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Secrets of Mental Math: Free Video Lecture on How to Memorize Numbers

Taught by Professor Arthur Benjamin Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, Harvey Mudd College

Download this Video (requires Quicktime)

Credit card numbers. Phone numbers. Driver’s license numbers. Social Security numbers. Birthdays. These are just a few of the many numbers you deal with every day—numbers that often need to be memorized for quick and easy recall. And it turns out that there are fun and amazingly effective ways to memorize large numbers and long strings of digits—ways that can not only make everyday life easier but that can be used to perform larger calculations that were previously beyond your mental capacity.

One invaluable method is transforming numbers into words using a phonetic code known as the Major system, which connects the numbers 0 through 9 to a specific consonant sound. Using this code, you can turn the number 491 into “rabbit” or “repeat” by simply inserting vowels among the consonants in the code: 4 = “r,” 9 = “p” or “b,” and 1 = “t” or “d.” You can also combine this code with another system, the peg system, to improve how quickly you can memorize a numbered list, such as the presidents of the United States, by connecting numbers with easily visualized words such as “tea,” “shoe,” and “pie.”

In How to Memorize Numbers, you learn

  • how the Major and peg systems work to make number memorization quick and easy;
  • simple exercises for improving your speed and skill at memorizing long strings of digits;
  • tips for memorizing everything from personal numbers to elements on the periodic table; and more.

Watch this free video lecture to discover just how easy—and fun—memorizing numbers can be!

How to Memorize Numbers is delivered by Professor Arthur T. Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin is Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, where he has taught for more than 20 years. Renowned for his dynamic teaching style, he has been repeatedly honored with awards from the Mathematical Association of America. Professor Benjamin has also been featured in Scientific American, The New York Times, and Reader’s Digest—which named him “America’s Best Math Whiz.”